Cover image for The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau : the impossibility of reason
The political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau : the impossibility of reason
Qvortrup, Matt.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Manchester, UK ; New York : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed exclusively in the USA by Palgrave, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 135 pages ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JC179 .Q86 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order


Author Notes

Mads Qvortrup taught for several years at the London School of Economics. A Research Director and Senior Fellow at the Initiative and Referendum Institute, Washington DC, he is also a senior advisor to the British government

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In a quickly moving, almost conversational, style, Qvortrup presents a novel interpretation of Rousseau as a man for our time, a model for John F. Kennedy, perhaps even Henry Kissinger. He does so by drawing attention to those aspects of Rousseau's writings that point to praise for patriotism, nationalism, and constitutionalism--in sum, to what Qvortrup denotes as compassionate conservatism--while ignoring Rousseau's praise of morality based on pride or self-love (amour propre, the passion he usually depicts as the vice inevitably leading to evil in civil society) or complicated stance with respect to tolerance when it comes to religion. Qvortrup concentrates on drawing parallels between Rousseau and authors or opinions of today. Thus, the title of the book notwithstanding, he concentrates little on pursuing Rousseau's arguments, i.e., on Rousseau's political philosophy properly speaking. Typographical, grammatical, factual, and spelling errors abound, as do faulty French titles, loose translations from Rousseau's French, and incorrect identifications of Rousseau's intended foil in particular passages. Nor does Qvortrup adequately explain how an author can be the product of his age, while his writings should be considered as valid for all time. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. C. E. Butterworth University of Maryland College Park

Table of Contents

Introduction and Method
The Politics of the Soul: The Life and Times of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Disenchantment of the World
Checks, Balances and Popular Participation: Rousseau As a Constitutionalist
A Civic Profession of Faith: Rousseau and Nationalism
The Last of the Ancients, the First of the Moderns?
Epilogue: in the Beginning Was Song
Appendix--Chronology of Rousseau's Life